The thoughts that go through your head when you are terrified of heights but doing something that might kill or cure you are overwhelming. When in Sabah, despite signs saying something like “just please don’t do this if you are afraid of heights, ok? OK?!”, I kept schtum and did a very high and very wobbly rainforest rope walk anyway. I have had a year of trying to conquer my fears (doing the worlds longest island to island zipline in Sabah was another one), and forced myself.
Visiting Sabah, I was excited as always about the food and the peculiarities that would be offered by the region and the local cooking. Sabah is tucked away in Borneo, caressing the sea, but it has a lot of rainforest and cultivated land too. On the coast there are what are referred to locally as sea gypsies, living in wooden houses on stilts in the sea by the coast. Originating from Indonesia and the Philippines, they do have their own local food culture, and I found a chef who teaches it, Fortunato Lowel, at the Mango Garden Restaurant.
I recently worked with Lloyds Bank on a project where I explored some of my favourite dining experiences in my (almost) 8 years of blogging. A lovely indulgence for me, I hope you like it too.
One of the joys of going to Sabah is exploring the food markets. Malaysian food culture is rich and diverse, and Sabah, tucked away on the island of Borneo, has a food heritage all of its own combined with Malaysian standards. Lots of native fish and meats are used, crocodile and stingray are probably some of the most unusual, but there is lots of beef and chicken, and more familiar fish like snapper and prawns.
It would take years to explore fully all of the tapas in Madrid. Madrid is full of small restaurants that specialise in one dish and do it brilliantly, and Madrid is a big place. I only had a few days and it was my first trip to the city (it won’t be my last – I loved it), but I had the help of some locals, recommendations from fellow food bloggers and writers, and I also had the assistance of a local guide who had a brilliant list of her favourites. On a bright autumnal Sunday lunch time, we met at Plaza Mayor and headed to Casa Revuelta (Calle de Latoneros 3), a small busy tapas bar famous for light bright and crisp fried cod, served with either beer or wine. A bargain at €2.80 (or €3.80 with wine, €4 with beer) and a perfect first stop. Now owned by Begona, her father in law opened Casa Revuelta 48 years ago. At 92 years old now, he is naturally less involved, but it is still …
(and an incredible package offer for the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort for you – see the end of this post for details) Indulge me. I know I obsess about food, and that is why you mainly come here, but today, I want to talk about orangutans. On my recent trip to Sabah, I was swept away not just by the food, but also monkeys, apes, monitor lizards, crocodiles and inquisitive owls. Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo, is a well known honeymoon destination. It has the pristine beaches, luxury hotels and resorts, glorious sunsets, blue skies and crystal seas dotted with islands, that top most honeymoon wish lists. Sabah has wonderful Malaysian food, lots of fresh fish, aroma, heat and spice, but also curiosities like crocodile (I tried a kind of crocodile bacon at one point!). There are great street food markets (sambal stingray, you tasty thing you), lots of local restaurants, the people of Malaysia are passionate about their food and they eat very well. I was expecting to love exploring the food and to be enthralled …
Truffles! Don’t you love them. rich, intense, savoury and deeply addictive, I always feel for those poor truffle dogs who seek them because they love them so much, only to have to give them to the truffle hunter when they find them.